1st October 2013
Best Year Since 1989 Recorded at Ballynahinch
The months of August and September provided fishing success not seen at Ballynahinch for over 20 years. Over those two months, 120 salmon were caught on the Castle Stretch, with 60% of these fish being released. The total catch for the 2013 season was a whopping 149 salmon which was more than double the total achieved in 2012. Between 30th July and 26th September there were only 3 blank days on the fishery. The sheer number of salmon resident in the lower beats throughout the season provided for fabulously entertaining fishing days for our anglers, regardless of their success.
Sna Beg, Beats 4, 5 and 6 provided the most fantastic fishing and there was no particular fly the proved to be more successful than any other. Some long forgotten patterns used on the fishery during Ranji's time such as the Logie and Rusty Rat were reintroduced by some of our regular anglers who had great success throughout the season.
The dry spell during July gave us a period of 17 days straight with no salmon from 12th - 29th July, however, it would appear the low water levels were the catalyst for our success in August and September. Fish that entered the lower beats during the dry spell were not inclinded to moved upstream following the rain thus ensuring a healthy stock remained in the Castle Stretch all season long.
The sea trout return in 2013 was very encouraging and registered very strongly on our fish counter. We even saw large numbers of them migrating in late June, however, for some bizarre reason, they were incredibly difficult to catch. The anecdotes coming from anglers on Lough Inagh told a similar story, however, the important news is that our stock continues to improve, albeit slower than we initially expected.
The annual Ballynahinch Fish-Out took place on Monday 30th September with our regular anglers and guides vying for the Mikey Conneely Perpetual Trophy. Following an immensely enjoyable day, the top prize was won by long-time local guide Frank Flaherty who returned a 8lb salmon on Sna Beg, taken on a small Green Peter fly. In total, 5 salmon were caught and released on the final day with Greg Forde, Dr John Casey and Kevin Keaney also having success. The coveted trophy for the largest salmon of the season was won by regular Galway angler, Stephen Cullinane, who landed a magnificent 17lb salmon from Beat 6 on 2nd August. This was the largest salmon landed at Ballynahinch in over 10 years and ranks up there with a 15lb brown trout landed by Stephen from Sna Beg in 2011.11th September 2013
Prospects for 2014
The life cycle of the Ballynahinch grilse, which makes up the majority of our stock, follow a 4 year cycle, meaning that in 2014 the progeny of the 2010 stock will return. In
2010 we registered our largest return to the catchment of grilse since our counter was installed, so are quietly confident of another strong year next season. The fluctuating marine survival witnessed over the past 20 years will also have a great impact on the final return so we are praying that our 2014 grilse, now feeding off the Faroe Islands, will make it back in large numbers next summer.
The fantastic fishing continues at Ballynahinch and we have now over 115 salmon recorded for the season. Over the past 5 days we have in excess of 15 salmon caught with most being returned. There are still fish in most beats and the river level is medium to low.
There is not a great deal of fresh fish in the river, however, we are starting to catch some very big fish. Tom McManus landed and released a 12.5lb salmon from Beat 4 yesterday and there have been some large fish lost, breaking some high strength nylon!! Other captors include John Casey, Frank Flaherty, Cyril Biggins, Jonny Darling & Des Lally.
There is some space on the river until 20th September, after which the river is booked out until the remainder of the season so make sure to try and throw a line prior to then!
28th August 2013
August Record on the Cards at Ballynahinch
August has really turned out to be a memorable month at Ballynahinch with over 70 salmon landed, including only 3 blank days in the register where no fish were taken. The sheer number of resident salmon within the Castle Stretch is really fantastic.
Favourable weather conditions and near perfect water levels brought some very good fishing over the past week with a good deal of salmon landed. The two best fish were taken by mother-daughter combination, Ann Corcoran and Roseanne O'Grady-Walshe. Mrs Corcoran took a fabulous 8.25lb cock salmon from the tail of Ranji's Rock whilst Roseanne landed an equally impressive 8lb fish from the stream of Beat 1. Both anglers were ably assisted by Cyril Biggins.
Other captors for the week include Robin Carr, Ewan and Jamie Guinness, Frank Flaherty, Tom McManus and Vincent Foley. Sna Beg and Beat 1 proved to be the most successful locations.
Prospects for September
With September just over the horizon, we are predicting this really impressive season to continue at Ballynahinch. Many of the resident fish tend to get more active as the month progresses and we have a tendency to take larger salmon during the month also. Water levels are perfect at the moment and the weather does not appear to be settling; which is good news for the anglers!
19th August 2013
Amazing Salmon Fishing Continues at Ballynahinch
Nearly 60 salmon have been landed at Ballynahinch so far this August, and we still have 12 days remaining in the month! Not only are we catching (and releasing) large numbers of salmon, those anglers unlucky enough not to catch a fish are in awe at the large stock of salmon; not seen on the Castle Stretch for many years.
Notable catches over the past week include 3 salmon for Stephen Cullinane in a morning from Beat 1, 3 salmon for Phillip Bellamy for his week, 2 for Hugh Mellon from Sna Beg, 2 for Pierre Perret and many singles for anglers including Jim Shipley from the USA, Ollie McNally, Hugh Hardiman, Ann Corcoran, Tom McManus and William Hamilton. The average size for the week is in the region of 5.5lbs with the largest fish of 8lbs taken by Philip Bellamy.
Prospects for Remainder of the Month
Water levels have risen a good deal since my last communication and could be described as being at a 'perfect' height with Ranji's Rock just showing. There are still some fresh fish coming in on every tide and along with the existing stock, there is plenty of fish to keep any angler happy! Traditionally we experience a lull for 10 days at the end of August, however, this may not happen due to the sheer numbers of fish about and the continuing unsettled weather. September is guaranteed to be fantastic fishing, particularly the last 3 weeks, as long as the weather remains broken.
9th August 2013
Best Fishing Week in 25 Years at Ballynahinch
35 salmon have been landed over the past 9 days at Ballynahinch including a massive 17lb fish from Beat 6. This incredible tally is on the back of a very healthy run of salmon over the counter coupled with large numbers of resident salmon in the Castle Stretch. Beats 4, 6 and 7 have a fantastic stock of fish and perfect fishing conditions have brought smiles to many anglers' faces.
On 2nd August, Stephen Cullinane, landed a 17lb salmon from Frank's Rock on Beat 6 having lost 2 more fish in the previous 30 minutes from the same place. Stephen's salmon was the largest fish taken from Ballynahinch in over 15 years. There have been a 2 or 3 other large fish lost that are would reputedly have rivalled Stephen's haul; poor nylon is being blamed!
Tom McManus was top rod for the week with 7 fish to 8lb followed by Paddy Corcoran with 5 salmon to 9lb. Kevin Keaney and Club Member, Nigel McCorkell fished together for the week and had a joint tally of seven whilst the Markes brothers had 3 fine salmon to 6lb from Beat 4. Other captors include Nicky and Derek Strauss, Ann Corcoran, Frank Flaherty, Cyril Biggins and Eamon Mannion.
Water levels have dropped below the optimum height and the fish are not taking as freely as earlier in the week, however, with broken weather conditions forecast for the next 10 days at least combined with the numbers of resident fish we are confident of this fantastic season continuing. Lough Inagh, Kylemore and the Erriff Fisheries are all reporting fantastic seasons to date, so a trip to Connemara over the coming week or so for some great fishing would be well worth it.
1st August 2013
After a prolonged dry spell lasting most of the month of July the welcome rain over the past few days has rejuvenated the fish along with the fishermen! Frustrated by large numbers of fish that would simply not look at a fly over the past 3 weeks, the anglers at Ballynahinch have been rewarded with some fantastic fishing since last weekend. 8 fish have been landed in the past few 3 days with many more lost.
Paddy Corcoran landed a 8lb fish from Beat 4 and returned a 4lb grilse on Beat 1. Tom McManus has returned 2 fish from Beat 4 whilst on the same day, Derek Strauss (pictured on the left) landed a fine 9lb summer salmon also from Beat 4 and has just released a fine fish under the hotel whilst losing another. Cyril Biggins and Jonathan Broderick have also had good fortune with grilse from from Beat 2.
Not only are we catching good numbers of salmon, the amount of fish that are rolling, turning and boiling at anglers' flies is a marvel and ensures we have many excited fishermen after their day, even if they have not managed to 'connect'.
The long dry spell has meant that many of the fish have 'imprinted' in the beats where they have been held up since the dry spell began. This means that they are less inclined to move through the system after a rise in water, thus ensuring we have a higher proportion of the salmon stock within the Castle Stretch for the remainder of the season. SnaBeg, Beats 1, 2, 4 & 6 have huge numbers of resident fish and this bodes very well for the remainder of the season; so long as the unsettled weather remains.
1st July 2013
The Grilse Have Arrived - Early!
Over the past 2 days we have landed our first 2 grilse of the season at Ballynahinch. Given that our spring run was late, we were expecting a late summer run; however, this has not turned out to be the case. The counter is very active these past few days and we are expecting some very good fishing over the coming number of weeks.
Visiting US angler, Joe Irby Jnr, got our summer season under way and landed a fresh 6.5lb grilse from Beat 4 on 11th June (pictured here with local guide Frank Flaherty). Joe managed a similar feat from Beat 2 the following day with a 4.5lb fish. This was a Joe's first (and second) Atlantic Salmon and it was well deserved after putting in some long hours amongst the Connemara midges!
Sea Trout Arrival
The large maiden sea trout have been migrating upstream for the past few weeks and we have managed to land a few of these fish over the past few days. Tom McManus returned a beautiful 2lb sea trout from Beat 1 this morning and Cyril Biggins has had good success on the dry fly also.
The small finnock have yet to show themselves in any great numbers, however, their imminent arrival is expected any day and we envisage a very good sea trout season, given the number of fish seen jumping in estuary over the past month.
Some of our hotel guests have had great success on the brown trout now that we have some active fly life. It is not unusual to have a bag of 10 trout up to 2lbs for a day's fishing. Beat 2 is fishing particularly well for this.
30th May 2013
With relatively small numbers of springers showing on the fish counter until early May, there were slim pickings to be had during March and April at Ballynahinch. This pattern was seen across the West with most
fisheries reporting a slow start to the season. I would suspect that the low sea temperatures have possibly delayed their arrival.
With a rise in waters in the second week of May, healthy numbers of springers were picked up migrating upstream. As sure as night follows day, our regular anglers hit the water with serious intent! For the second year running, Club Member, Tom McManus scooped the first fish of the season, landing a 8.5lb springer from the stream on Beat 1 on 14th May.
A marked increase in fishing activity brought five more fish over the following 9 days; with 3 fish landed on Tuesday 16th May alone. Head Guide, Cyril Biggins, took a 9lb from Beat 1, Michael the Dutchman a fresh 11lb fish from Sna Beg, Patrick O’Flaherty a stunning 9lb springer from Beat 4, Stephen Cullinane 13lbs from Beat 1 and angling journalist, Andy Bowman, a 9lb fish from Beat 3. With good numbers of large springers passing over the counter every day, I would envisage some good fishing over the coming 3 weeks.
We look forward to the imminent arrival of our sea trout. They may be 1-2 weeks behind schedule given the low sea temperatures, however, their arrival in conjunction with the early grilse is, as always, a welcome sight at the hotel.